An unexpected call rang through my phone this morning and I sat looking at the number, not knowing who it was, and wondering if I would even answer it. I had already not answered the three phone calls that came in the thirty minutes before, so why bother, yet something was pulling at me. I was in the middle of my morning Bible study. This is normally a time that I set aside uninterrupted and don’t pay attention to my phone at all. So why was this call making me pause? I figured it was another solicitor, but I decided to just answer it. You have to understand, this is NOT the norm for me. I rarely answer my phone!
As I answered the call, a tad irritated and fully expecting it to be someone trying to sell me something, my entire body froze as I heard a voice on the other end that was barely holding it together and trying to get her words out. When she told me her name, my heart plunged in my chest as I knew something was deeply wrong. Even if she had not been sobbing, I would have known. I braced myself for what she was about to say as I listened. Her heart is breaking for her child and mine broke right along with her. As I love her child, too. A mother’s pain when we cannot help our children and they are suffering runs deep. It doesn’t matter how old they are, adult or not, we hurt.
Her story is not mine to share, nor is that the point of this writing. I know you thought it was, but there is something else at work here. Something I did not realize until I was off the phone and my own tears started for this mother and daughter.
I recently picked back up a Bible study that I had not finished before. It has sat on my bookshelf collecting dust for many years. In fact, there are dates in it from 2008 and 2012 where I had started it, yet never made it past Day 7. I have been beating myself up a bit for that, thinking how ridiculously dumb it was. That I never could stay in the Word long, that I didn’t make Jesus a priority, and on and on...you get the point. Maybe, have even been there.
Anyway, the study is Beth Moore’s John, 90 Days with the Beloved Disciple. The book of John has a profound meaning in my life (another story another day) so I figured it was best I know who he is intimately. When the phone rang, I had just finished Day 17 lesson, right before the prayer section. Let me set the scene.
In Matthew 26: 36-46, Jesus wept inconsolably in front of three of his disciples. He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Beth talks about how this would look from the viewpoint of the disciples. Jesus had been their rock; he “represented security and strength.” “This was their Rock! Their Strong Tower! What in the world was wrong with Him?”
They soon learned that he was not falling apart, he was falling down on His knees in complete surrender. Therein lies the STRENGTH! He was teaching them to pray and not sit in their anguish. This was when they went to Gethsemane, right before he was arrested. Put that in perspective and think about it, right after He was betrayed and right before he was nailed to the cross.
Proceeding the phone call, the study questions had asked me “Have you ever seen someone you consider to be a rock in unabashed anguish, virtually inconsolable, overwhelmed with sorrow? What impact did it have on you?” I answered, “Yes! Powerful, but I wanted to help.” I felt a disconnect to the teaching for some reason and was sitting there pondering why, when what I do is help people that are deeply hurting. My response shows the disconnect in emotion. I truly believe, as is true at this moment with Jesus, people can have genuine strength and deep emotion at the same time. Much like the mom that called me! Throughout our conversation, I heard both!
After the call, I realized there was not an accident or coincidence in the timing of her call. Nor the fact that I actually picked up the phone. Jesus needed to remind me of my calling. To show me in a deep way that I felt emotionally to my core. I am here simply to help and sit with the hurting, to show them the way out and to help them heal. To find their resilience and strength!